USC loses weekend road series to No. 5 Arkansas

The USC Trojans went 1-2 in this weekend’s series against the No. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks at Baum Stadium, taking the Trojans record to 8-3 on the season.

Junior infielder Brandon Perez catches a fly-ball. Alex Zhang | Daily Trojan

The Razorbacks ended the Trojans’ seven-game winning streak in game one of this weekend’s series. The Trojans lost to the Razorbacks by a score of 4-0; however, the game was closer than the score suggested.

Star junior pitcher Blaine Knight pitched for the Razorbacks in game one against USC sophomore pitcher Chris Clarke. The Trojans managed to get seven hits off of Knight, who has a 0.53 ERA after three starts, however they were unable to score despite leaving eight runners on base throughout the game.

The Razorbacks gained all the momentum in the first inning thanks to a 2-run homerun from senior outfielder Luke Bonfield. While the Razorbacks only had one more hit than the Trojans throughout the game, eight, they were able to score runners in scoring positions which helped them see off the game.

Game two, however, saw the Trojans go back to their winning ways as they beat No. 5 Arkansas 3-1 on Saturday. USC junior pitcher Quentin Longrie pitched 7.1 strong innings allowing only one run with four strikeouts to help lead the Trojans to victory.

Game two was a real team display from the Trojans as two of the runs scored were scored from sacrifice RBI’s. Unlike on Friday, the Trojans were able to score runners in scoring positions to close out game two. The scoring started late, as sophomore center-fielder Matthew Acosta singled in the top of the sixth to score junior shortstop Chase Bushor for the Trojans first run. Then, in the seventh, sophomore outfielder Brady Shockey hit a sacrifice fly to the outfield with junior second baseman Brandon Perez on third, scoring in the second run for the Trojans.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, however, junior outfielder Eric Cole blasted a solo shot into left to score for the Razorbacks keeping the game close at 2-1. However, in the ninth, the Trojans scored one more run courtesy of a sacrifice bunt from Perez scoring Acosta and leading the Trojans to an upset 3-1 victory at Baum Stadium.

“Quentin pitched a great game,” said head coach Dan Hubbs to USC Athletics. “That’s all you can ask of your starter. […] Overall this was a big win for a young team that’s still learning how to win.”

Sunday’s rubber-match ended in a heartbreaker for the Trojans as they lost 7-6 on a walk-off single with bases loaded in what was a competitive game. The game had to be cut short to eight innings of play due to the Trojans’ travel arrangements, and unfortunately for the Trojans, the game was lost in the final inning of play.

Freshman pitcher Kyle Hurt took the mound for the Trojans on Sunday and was in control of the game. He threw for 4.2 innings allowing only one earned run on three hits and five strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Trojans also looked great on the offensive side as they had 10 hits through eight innings of play. However, the Trojans were unable to close the game for the first time this season which resulted in a disappointing loss.

The Razorbacks took an early one-run lead in the second, however, the lead didn’t last long as the Trojans scored a run in the fourth to tie the game up at 1-1 through four innings of play. The Trojans then had a big fifth inning as they managed to put 4 more runs on the board and take the lead. However, in the sixth, the Razorbacks fought back and scored four runs of their own to tie the game up at 5 runs apiece.

Despite giving away the lead in the sixth, the Trojans did not put their heads down. In the seventh, sophomore catcher Blake Sabol hit an RBI single to retake the lead 6-5, giving the Trojans all of the momentum. The Trojans then went scoreless in the eighth after shutting out the Razorbacks in the seventh to go into the bottom of the eighth inning with a one-run lead and star sophomore closer Connor Lunn on the mound.

Having not given up a run all season, it looked like a foregone conclusion that the Trojans would walk away from Arkansas with two victories when Lunn went to pitch. However, the Razorbacks showed composure and managed to score 2 runs in the final inning of play to steal game three from the Trojans.

Despite losing two out of three games this weekend, the Trojans managed to keep every game relatively close against a great opponent in Arkansas.

Next weekend, the Trojans will face off against three more ranked opponents in the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic.